06/26/2012 05:46 EDT | Updated 08/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Missing, Murdered Aboriginal Women: Manitoba Government Rejects Call For Public Inquiry After Shawn Lamb Murder Charges


WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government says it has no plans to hold a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Justice Minister Andrew Swan says the province doesn't want to get in the way of criminal proceedings such as three murder charges that have been laid against Shawn Cameron Lamb.

Winnipeg police announced Monday they were charging Lamb in the deaths of three women, two of whom were found wrapped in plastic near garbage bins.

Aboriginal leaders want a public inquiry to examine how reports of missing women are investigated by police.

David Nepinak (NEE'-puh-nack), head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, says many aboriginals have feared there is a serial killer targeting native women in Winnipeg.

About 150 people gathered Tuesday night in Winnipeg at the corner of Young Street and Broadway to remember Tanya Nepinak, 31, Lorna Blacksmith, 18, and Carolyn Sinclair, 25, and other First Nations women who have lost their lives.

Carrying signs reading "Help our women" and "We miss you Lorna," the crowd shared stories and shed tears for Manitoba aboriginal women who are missing or have been murdered.

Chief Garrison Settee from Blacksmith's hometown of Cross Lake began the memorial with a blessing and a pipe ceremony.

"They are more than just statistics. We will march for them today with pride. We will march for them today with power. We will march until something will be done on behalf of our missing aboriginal women," Garrison said before beginning the pipe ceremony.

The memorial, which was described by Chief Settee as a "peaceful protest," finished at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

(The Canadian Press, Winnipeg Free Press)

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